Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Anybody who knows anything about me knows I’m a total animal geek/bird nerd, so it shouldn’t surprise you that I couldn’t resist putting the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on my must-see list when I was scouting out stops along the Seward Highway. The non-profit center, located about 50 miles south of Anchorage, rescues and rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife and, if possible, returns them to the wild. If the animals aren’t able to survive back in the wild, the center gives them permanent homes in large enclosures and educates the public about the importance of conservation efforts–both of the animals themselves and their endangered habitats. As far as wildlife viewing goes, it’s certainly more exhilarating–though not as safe–to observe animals in the wild, but I do like to support conservation organizations, like this center, that are involved in meaningful conservation efforts. The AWCC’s headline story is its wood bison herd, which is part of a North American species recovery project. Wood bison have been extinct in Alaska for 100 years, but in 2003, the AWCC acquired a herd from Canada’s Yukon Territory, and in 2005, the first wood bison calves born in the state in 100 years were born at the AWCC. The wood bison looked like a lot like Plains bison and were cool to see at a relatively up-close distance, but for my money–it only cost $10 to tour the grounds on foot or in car–it was a disheveled coyote that really stole the show. He trotted into my camera range at perfect light and I couldn’t stop snapping pictures. Sure, he was a scroungy sort, shedding all those clumps of soft undercoat, but he was so expressive and fun to watch. I love canine faces, and this guy had such a good one. (And if you think there are a lot of coyote photos in this little rinky-dink slideshow I posted here, you’d be shocked to see how many coyote pix I now have stowed away on my laptop. I think I like the snarly ones best.)

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8 Responses to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

  1. Jathan says:

    So I’m really digging these slide shows you’ve got going on here. I feel like I’m on this trip with you. So aside from the coyote (which is freakin’ cool — but what is he growling at?), bison and eagles you’ve also captured some bears on here (although I’m not exactly sure what they’re up to in one of those shots either). And what are those other things, elk or reindeer? Regardless, they’re all wonderful and simply beautiful.

    • There are caribou (reindeer) *and* elk in that set, actually. Oh, and the bears were siblings and they were–according to the perky naturalist I spoke with– “wrestling.” I wasn’t able to get much of a shot of them, since I was a gazillion miles away and they were rolling around on top of each other. So I’m hoping to score some better bear shots somewhere on this trip! Oh, and technically, the coyote wasn’t actually snarling; he was chewing. But I caught him in a mid-chew snarl that was just delicious.

  2. Sarah Whitman says:

    LOVE the wildlife photos! Sounds like you’re having the time of your life!

    • I am! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I hope I can catch up with my posts soon. I’m so far behind. So much is happening! So many photos are piling up in my laptop’s brain! Hope all is well back in the ‘Nati. I’ve heard it’s been mighty hot.

  3. karen says:

    i remember how much you loved the coyotes last year at the zoo! i am so glad you are having fun!

    • Remember how that one coyote we saw started howling and you got it on video? I thought of that yesterday because I was at an Iditarod kennel the past few days, and I’ve seen about 30-some dogs howling all at once. Now *that* was something to see — and hear!

  4. Nate says:

    Jenny, these are GREAT (and the ones from Eagle River above). If you’re not careful, you’ll be an Alaskan before long. Keep the posts coming. Love,
    Nate

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